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Sciacca and its coral


 Mediterranean coral is of the Corallium Rubrum species and grows from 50 to 200 meters deep. It has small dimensions compared to Asian coral, the diameter of a sphere processing on average ranges from 3 to 8 millimeters. There are 27 species of Corallium in the world but only 5 are workable. The appearance and color of the coral depend on the place and depth in which it developed.

Each branch of coral is the calcareous skeleton of colonies of very small white octopuses that live and reproduce asexually, belonging to the Coelenterates group and which prefer a natural habitat at temperatures between 18 and 20 degrees.

Sciacca coral has unique characteristics that distinguish it from all other corals: its color varies from intense orange to pale salmon-pink characterized by brownish and sometimes black spots to testify and certify its volcanic origin, up to brown of the fossil coral "burned" by the very high temperatures reached.

The raw Sciacca coral, an organic material that grows on the slopes of the submarine volcano, appears opaque as soon as it is fished, while once cleaned and carefully worked it presents a vitreous-porcelain sheen.



Ferdinand Island

Sciacca coral has unique origins in the world, in fact it comes from Isola Ferdinandea, a submerged island in the Strait of Sicily between Sciacca and Pantelleria whose history is nothing short of exceptional. Today the Ferdinandea island is a rock platform that lies between 6 and 8 meters below the surface of the Mediterranean Sea 30 miles from the coast of Sciacca (AG), a submerged volcano that periodically erupts and emerges. Back in 1831 in the shoal called "Bummolo" by the sailors of Saccensi, about thirty miles off the coast of Sciacca, a new island emerged from the depths of the sea in an inferno of fire..... Neverland.

Soon the news of this new land spread and the powers of the time rushed in search of a strategic landing place. England sent its ships and planted the flag naming it "Graham", France renamed it "Iulia" in reference to its appearance in the month of July, and the Bourbon rulers for their part claimed it calling it "Ferdinandea" in honor of King Ferdinand II of Bourbon.


Only a year later, however, the island sank again into the abyss, putting an end to the questions about its sovereignty, disappearing definitively under the waves of the Strait of Sicily. Thanks to the exceptional microclimate created as a result of volcanic phenomena, vast extensions of coral reefs were created and amassed on the shoal. In 1875 some fishermen from Sciacca during a fishing trip, noticed the presence of the "submerged treasure" in the nets.


The three captains of paranza - a pair of sailboats towing a trawl net - brought back the news of the discovery of coral in the city and thus began the great race in search of the precious coral.

Legend has it that Bettu Ammareddu, captain of paranza, was out fishing together with Bettu known as Occhidilampa and Peppe Muschidda, when he lost the chain given by his beloved Tina, a token of love and amulet. He then dived into the water to retrieve it and thus discovered the coral.
The poem "La corallina" by the Saccense poet Vincenzo Licata describes exactly the moment of discovery in the Saccense dialect:

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